Questions about Barbados’ tourism offerings
submitted as a comment by Dawn Best
I think everyone agrees that changes need to be made and need to be made urgently. What are the best things about the Barbados tourism product? What do we do really well that our visitors cannot stop raving about when they go home? What is it that we have/do that nobody else anywhere has/does that is currently translating into massive foreign exchange? How do we make that more prominent in the world?
Once we’ve identified those key areas then how do we duplicate this success in other parts of the island? How do we improve this product by getting the stakeholders (Hoteliers, Government, Workforce, Citizens) involved in the process in meaningful and sustainable ways?
Now turn your heads the other way. What do we do really poorly?
What are the most hateful aspects of our tourism product? What is Jamaica doing right that we are not doing? Who are their customers (demographics)? Why are they going to Jamaica and not Barbados? How do we do what they’re doing right but do it better and with a Bajan flavour? If we only want wealthy patrons then how do we court more of them? Are we advertising inside their country clubs or at the side of the field at a Manchester United game (I think not)?
Or are we going to be real and see that one person can only eat so much food, drink so much alcohol, sleep in one bed at a time and take up so much beach space and therefore it’s better to place our bets on 10 hand-to-mouth backpackers instead of 1 rich bitch? Are we going to be flexible and acknowledge that Barbados has accommodations that will suit the wallets and tastes of both demographics and by courting only one type, the hotels that welcome the other type are going to suffer?
And last but not least, are we going to stop treating our visitors like cash cows, crackheads and criminals and start welcoming them ALL like honoured guests in our home? How are we going to lend support to law enforcement who are battling the ills of tourism? The idea here is not to waste time on guesswork solutions but to develop a plan strictly on what we know for sure works and do that with the aim of taking Barbados to #1 in the world (or the Caribbean if you please). This will only work with all hands on deck and everyone feeling like they are a part of the plan and the work and not just looking to Government while Government is looking to the few who are sitting as Parliamentarians.
The people who are in the trenches know what works, they know the solutions so go ask them! #1 will not happen overnight but why not with another 50 years of consistently high standards and continued growth and #2 is nothing to feel shabby about either.